What to do about spiritual experiences when they come? When we have a revelation of some sort, when we hear a communication that provides us insight or guidance, how are we to know whether it is truthful or misleading? Can we determine the source of the clairvoyant or clairaudient communication to be able to know, with certainty, that it is guidance we can trust and rely on?

Not only spiritual forces can exert their pressure on the mind-life-body complex. In particular we note that vital powers and beings can, and do, try to gain some level of control over the seeker once the protective walls of the external being have been lowered or breached as the seeker becomes more aware of the inner existence and with that, the energies, powers and forces of the subtle physical, vital and mental planes, as well as the spiritual.

Sri Aurobindo provides some succinct ‘rules’ for the seeker that can help him avoid the type of harm that can occur by following guidance that is flawed, or worse. The first is basically to not allow the enjoyment of the experience to take hold of the vital nature and build a desire for a repeat, or an enhancement. This can lead to a lot of distraction as well as error. The second is to accept the experience without attachment so that one remains free and can act as a witness without taking ‘ownership’ of it. The third is basically to recognise that everything in this world is of a mixed nature, that our reception and our interpretation, the filter we apply, can lead to enormous distortions that can corrupt what the experience is actually intending to bring, and can lead the seeker to accept those expriences, visions, voices that tend to inflate the ego and aggrandise the vital nature.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “… there are three rules of the sadhana which are very necessary in an earlier stage and which you should remember. First, open yourself to experience but do not take the bhoga of the experiences. Do not attach yourself to any particular kind of experience. Do not take all ideas and suggestions as true and do not take any knowledge, voice or thought-message as absolutely final and definitive.”

“These voices are sometimes one’s own mental formations, sometimes suggestions from outside. Good or bad depends on what they say and on the quarter from which they come.”

“Anybody can get ‘voices’ — there are first the movements of one’s nature that take upon themselves a voice — then there are all sorts of beings who either for a joke or for a serious purpose invade with their voices.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter VII Growth of Consciousness, Inner Experiences, pg. 139-140

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.